Aaron Steffey, an Erie Insurance Agent at Steffey Insurance Agency, says it’s definitely worth your while to visit his hometown.
“People don’t realize that more than a million people live in Indianapolis,” he says. “It’s big-and it’s really affordable, so new shops, restaurants and more are constantly opening since real estate is inexpensive. There is always something new to check out.”
Thinking of visiting? If so, here are Aaron’s top recommendations for what to do in Indianapolis.
- Catch a game or a (very famous) race. “Indianapolis is a great sports city,” says Aaron. “You have the Colts and the Pacers. And then there’s the Indianapolis 500, which is our version of Mardi Gras.” (If the Indy 500 is up your alley, plan your visit well ahead of time. The city attracts half a million visitors for the event!)
If college sports are more your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Indianapolis is home to the NCAA headquarters and the NCAA Hall of Champions, an interactive two-story museum celebrating collegiate athletics.
- Grab a bite. Nearly every bar and grill in Indy has their version of the city’s famed pork tenderloin sandwich. These sandwiches are deep fried and huge—so bring your appetite.
For a more upscale experience, Aaron recommends the nationally renowned St. Elmo Steak House. “If someone famous comes to town, that is where they go,” he says.
Another local favorite is Rathskeller, a German restaurant in an historic 19th century building.
- Check out a hip neighborhood. Start downtown, a dynamic urban district with shopping, entertainment, museums and more. “While many downtowns in the Midwest experienced industrial decline, Indianapolis was mostly spared as a result of its economy being primarily dependent on agriculture,” says Aaron. “People are always surprised at how big and pristine our downtown is.” He also suggests checking out Fountain Square, an up-and-coming downtown neighborhood full of restaurants, art galleries and live entertainment venues.
Like to shop? Then visit the Massachusetts Avenue Cultural District’s plethora of independent shops and boutiques.
Aaron also recommends visiting Broad Ripple Village, a neighborhood that’s very close to his agency. “It’s a cool neighborhood located about five miles north of downtown,” he says. “Butler University is close by, and there are a ton of restaurants, bars and shops.”
- Visit a museum. Indianapolis is home to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum and the Indiana Museum of Art housing modern, African and fine art.
- Ride a bike. Indy is at the forefront when it comes to the development of green pathways. Aaron recommends biking the Monan Trail, an 18-mile rails-to-trails greenway that takes you through some of the city’s must-see neighborhoods.
As you can see, there are lots of reasons to visit this often overlooked Midwestern city. “People are really surprised when they come here,” says Aaron. “They didn’t expect it to have so much—everyone loves it once they take the time to visit.”